Miriam Makeba, Mama Africa, Pata Pata and Nelson Mandela


Today Google is celebrating for the first time an artist with their origins from South Africa on their FrontPage, the Miriam Makeba Google Doodle is also available on all International Google Search pages and not only country specific. Being a South African myself I am truly proud of the

Miriam Makeba Google Doodle

and it was very exciting to find out more about “Miriam Makeba” when I was writing this article..

Nelson Mandela

“Nelson Mandela and Miriam Makeba (Mamma Africa).

All though I have a very good idea who Miriam Makeba was, since she were born in Johannesburg South Africa, and a true legend here in South Africa. In fact she is referred to as Mama Africa or in Afrikaans as “Mamma Africa” where “Mamma” means Mother of Africa.

miriam makeba google doodle

“The Miriam Makeba Mama Africa Google Doodle – 4 March 2013”

In the apartheid era in South Africa, it were very unlikely for a black woman to rise to the heights that Miriam Makeba did, not only were she a close friend of Nelson Mandela, but also admired by the whole South Africa for her fight for basic human rights. Miriam Makeba loved South Africa, and although the apartheids regime banned her from the country, she continued to speak about South Africa and the fight for freedom where ever she went.

Miriam Makeba and Nelson Mandela

After spending nearly 30 years in exile, Mr Nelson Mandela personally asked “Mama Africa” to return home in 1990 right after Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the end of apartheid.

Miriam Makeba also loved Mr Nelson Mandela and Nelson Mandela loved Miriam Makeba, on his 70th Birthday she performed a special tribute for Mr. Nelson Mandela singing some of her most popular songs like “Pata Pata”, “Soweto Blues” and freedom songs from the era.

You can watch her Nelson Mandela Tribute here:

Miriam Makeba Soweto Blues

Miriam Makeba Soweto Blues

Through songs like Soweto Blues Miriam Makeba made people aware about the struggles black people faced in South Africa against apartheid, It is a remarkable story how jazz became a key part of South Africa’s struggles in the 20th Century, and how artists like Miriam Makeba used songs like Soweto Blues and Pata Pata and other strugle songs to strengthen the link between African and American styles of music and using music to fight against apartheid.

Miriam Makeba Pata Pata

Miriam Makeba Pata Pata

In the video below Miriam Makeba sings one of her most famous song “Pata Pata” during a performance in the Dutch TV-studios in Hilversum in September 1979. “Pata Pata” is the name of a dance, we do down Johannesburg way. Everybody start to move as soon as “Pata Pata” starts to play!

Watch the Pata Pata Youtube video, and it is almost guaranteed that you will recognize the song by Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba Click Song

Miriam Makeba click song

The Miriam Makeba Click Song is known world-wide thanks to the interpretation of South African singer Miriam Makeba (herself a Xhosa). In her discography the songs appears in several versions, both with title Qongqothwane and as The Click Song.

Qongqothwane is a traditional song of the Xhosa people of South Africa. It is sung at weddings to bring good fortune. In the western world it is mainly known as The Click Song, a nickname given to the song by European colonials who could not pronounce its Xhosa title, which has many click consonants in it. The Xhosa title literally means “knock-knock beetle”, which is a popular name for various species of darkling beetles that make a distinctive knocking sound by tapping their abdomens on the ground. These beetles are believed by the Xhosa to bring good luck and rain.

Legacy of Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba, who has died aged 76, was known as Mama Africa and the Empress of African song. She was one of the most visible and outspoken opponents of South Africa’s apartheid regime from the 1960s till its dismantling in the early 1990s. She was also the anti-apartheid movement’s most audible spokesperson, having entered the top flight of international performers and able to sell out prestigious concert halls with a repertoire that changed little over three decades of musical evolution.

For more information and to learn more about Miriam Makeba you can visit our page about

Miriam Makeba


Nelson Mandela Died 5 December 2013